5:07 I wake up. No alarm, just birdsong outside. Yesterday I woke up at 4:26, which is just too early. At least after five I feel like it’s reasonable to get up (and still expect I’ll be functional till the children go to bed). I go downstairs, put the kettle on, and pick up random toys strewn around the house while I wait on the water.
5:15: I have my tea and turn on the computer to write. Sam comes down to exercise.
6:45 I hear children stirring. At this point it’s always a race to see if I can reach my goal before a little person appears downstairs at seven.
7:01 One child appears and starts his schoolwork. I don’t actually have to stop until child #2 appears.
7:08 Child two appears saying, “You know what’s funny, Mommy?” (As I write this now, I have no recollection of what was so funny…)
7:20 They’re all downstairs. Sam is heading off to work. I heat the milk for the yogurt.
[Important backstory: we’ve been having some discipline– as in, self-discipline– issues with one of the children: I’ll call it (or him/her) Pat-Chris. Realizing the stalling can no longer be tolerated, I am planning to crack down.]
7:22 I sit down with Pat-Chris and explain the plan: all today’s work must be done, as well as yesterday’s, in order for fun to happen today. S/he reads to me yesterday’s reading assignment.
7:43 Reading done. Pat-Chris asks if we can make waffles together. Can do.
7:45 We have four cookbooks out, looking through all the indexes for a waffle recipe that involves “separating the eggs” because Pat-Chris reminds me that this is what makes waffles fluffy.
7:50 Waffle recipe is chosen. I separate said eggs, and Pat-Chris does the rest. I’m actually impressed with him/her.
8:15 The five of us sit down for waffles. I have some whipped cream in the fridge (leftover from Easter) so we have that on the waffles. They think it’s a party. Hooray!
8:37 Everyone is done. The children try to put off their kitchen chores “until our work is done” (trying to capitalize on my fervor for finishing our daily work– I’m on to them!). “Nope,” I say (because I talk like this, really), “until you’ve done your kitchen work, I can’t do mine.” Kitchen work is done.
8:40 Milk is ready to be cultured, but the vanilla is missing. One of the children made cookies yesterday, but s/he has no idea where the vanilla could be. We both search the kitchen to no avail. Guess it’s going to be plain yogurt this time.
8:52 I sit down next to Pat-Chris to supervise his/her notebook work. SweetP and I play two of her preschool games, one with words and one with numbers. She loses interest about halfway through the second game. It’s good while it lasts.
9:05 One of the other children claims to be done with his/her work. We look at the assignment sheet together: nope, three more things left. [I’m sensing a pattern for all of us: I am so busy doing all the other things involved in running our home that I have been taking their word for it that their work is done. I wonder how many times there have been omissions (intentional or not) as I have handed over more of the responsibility to managing their own time.]
9:10 I start Pat-Chris on his/her computer work (geography and Spanish). Another child practices piano. The third is doing math, but independently. SweetP and I sit on the porch swing to read Brian Wildsmith’s beautiful book, The Easter Story.
9:14 Another child comes out to read to me and gets sucked into the book with me and SweetP. I love snuggling and reading together. If it’s on the porch swing, even better.
9:25 Reading done. We rotate piano and computer learners. SweetP helps me make the salad dressing for dinner.
9:40 My neighbor calls to invite us to play outside. SweetP goes to ride her bike. I sit down to do Latin corrections and math with the other children.
10:05 I hang out the boys’ wash. J starts playing a song from “Quest for Camelot” and O is singing at the top of his lungs.
10:15 M goes to do math on the front porch with chalk and the floor as her chalkboard. I love homeschooling.
10:20 SweetP is back. I give everyone notice that at 11, we’re going to go to the grocery store.
11:05 Not bad. We’re in the car. We’re listening to The City of Ember by Jeanne duPrau. The kids are riveted.
11:17 SweetP has disappeared in the grocery store. Panic. I place two kids where we noticed she was gone and one at the exit. I try to ask the guy in the vegetables for help. He makes a storewide announcement. I pray pray pray pray pray… Two minutes later, J sees her dashing across an aisle in her own panic, and the store workers stop her. I pick her up, and we are both crying and shaking.
11:21 We review. “If you get lost, what do you do?” I ask. Everyone says, “Stay where you are!” My heart rate might return to normal by June.
12:18 We are in the car again. I can’t stop praying my thanks over and over.
12:36 Home. The kids are piling out around me as if this is a clown car, and I’m totally overwhelmed. They take the book on CD in because they want to keep listening in the house. We carry groceries in. I make lunch and make us eat it on the patio because it’s beautiful out.
1- We read from Luke and The World of Captain John Smith.
1:10 The phone rings. It’s my office, calling to clarify an MRI order, and when I look up, all the kids have scattered. I yell that someone had better be looking for the missing vanilla!
1:30 We bring all the dishes in from outside, and the kids do their kitchen jobs. I need nap.
1:45 I send everyone upstairs for rest time. SweetP says, “It better not be a long rest time!” By long, she means more than 18 seconds, which is as high as she can count. It had better be longer than 18 seconds, I think. I read her a book.
2:02 “Is it done yet?” SweetP asks, appearing on the stairs. “No,” I say. “Go back to your room.” Hearing my voice, M appears, asking for the stapler so she can make miniature books for her doll. (She was inspired by The Borrowers, which is one of her reading books.) Alas, the stapler is lacking staples and I am not up for searching for them.
2:15 I sit down to pray.
2:35 I make dinner and wash the dishes.
2:36 SweetP wants to know if we’re done yet. No.
2:38 SweetP wants to know if we’re done yet. No.
2:45 SweetP wants to know if we’re done yet. No.
2:58 SweetP wants to know if we’re done yet. No.
3:02 They descend the stairs like elephants. O has built Hogwarts out of Legos and is very excited. J wants to tell me about the book he’s reading. M made her doll a backpack. SweetP is here to tell me that rest time was WAAAAY too long.
3:04 Pat-Chris and I sit down to the last of the work. The other children play/read in the backyard.
3:35 Pat-Chris has finished. S/he is very exited and wants to join the outside play. Yes.
3:55 The children ask if they can mow the neighbors’ yard now. I take down the laundry and listen to the mower swishing and the girls’ laughter.
4:45 We all rush to the car to go to soccer, and I find the keys still in the ignition. The battery is dead (my fault.) We pile onto bicycles– SweetP is most excited (J not so much)– and ride over to soccer.
5:10 While the big kids practice, SweetP runs lap after lap after lap around the fields. This is a good thing.
6:50 We make it home. Sam is home, and we all have dinner together. We use our new conversation jar. It’s a good thing.
7:30 Dishes, showers, bedtime routines… Sam is putting away the various bits of today’s activities and calls from the school room, “Hey, any idea what the vanilla is doing in this drawer?”
8:40 I can’t stay awake another minute. Today was full, full, full, and required a kind of attention– supervision– that I find exhausting. I hope it pays off quickly.